The air-bake pans are advertised to provide more control over the baking process and to deliver more consistent baking results than a single-layered cookie sheet. An air-bake cookie sheet is supposed to eliminate the problem with burnt cookie bottoms, allowing the cookies to cook evenly.
Air bake sheets are constructed with two aluminum layers with an air cushion between them. The reason for such a design is to prevent the top sheet from overheating. The bottom sheet blocks the intense oven heat, while the cushion of air reduces the temperature of the top sheet, which comes in contact with food.
Air-bake cookie sheets have become extremely popular among professional and home cooks because of great and consistent baking results. However, there are some raising concerns about using aluminum utensils for cooking foods. Although there are no toxic fumes when you use Aluminum at high temperatures, this material is not the best choice for your kitchen items. Aluminum is prone to scratches and can react with salty and acidic foods. If you prefer safe bakeware, use parchment paper when baking foods in aluminum pans.
Some brands of air-bake cookie sheets are made of aluminum with a non-stick coating, but this coating generally doesn’t perform well because of the tendency to scratch and peel off. Some particles of the coating can end up in your food. You are also not recommended to exceed 450 degrees for a coated air-bake sheet, as it will discolor and lose some of its nonstick properties. A 100% Aluminum air-bake cookie sheet can be used up to 500 degrees.
There are some air-bake pans made of titanium, but these products don’t sell well, so there is not a sufficient number of feedbacks about their performance.
Another imperfection of air-bake sheets is air holes, which should be strictly kept away from water. If water comes between the metal layer, the steam released from holes can affect baking results.
The lack of preciseness in care instruction may leave some customers confused or even disappointed by the product they have purchased. Most manufacturers advertise their air-bake pans as dishwasher safe, but are they?
How does an Air-bake Cookie Sheet Differ from a Single-Layered Sheet?
The main advantage of air-bake sheets over traditional baking pans is the more uniform heating of food. The air-insulated technology makes it easier to prevent over-browning of the cookie bottom. This eliminates the problem with undercooked middles while improving the texture of your cookies. Plus, if you forget that you put the oven on, the extra few minutes won’t cause your cookies to come out burnt.
Another advantage of these pans is the non-stick feature and easy release of baked foods that would normally require cooking spray or parchment paper. For most recipes, is not necessary to use any oil or butter. The cooking spray in combination with high heat can also discolor the pan over time.
Air-bake sheets have air holes in the bottom designed to allow the hot air in the oven to circulate. Make sure to keep water from getting inside the layers when you clean your air-bake sheets.
Air-Bake sheets are potentially more fragile than traditional cookie sheets and will warp from the heat after many uses. Denting may occur during packaging as well as during the shipping process. They also can warp if you place anything heavy to sit on them or put too much pressure on them while cleaning.
Due to double-layer construction, it takes a few minutes longer for an Air-bake sheet to warm up or cool off than a regular pan. It could also take several minutes longer to bake your cookies than in a standard single-layer cookie sheet.
Most air-bake sheets don’t have raised edges on all four sides, but there are some exceptions, such as Air-Bake Jelly Roll Deep Baking Dish.
Proper Cleaning of Airbake Cookie Sheets
You need to be careful not to submerge an air-bake pan in water because water can get trapped inside the layers. When that happens, you shouldn’t use the sheet until you properly dry it. To remove the water that had seeped into the air pocket, you need to heat the pan without any food to evaporate the water inside of the pan. Place the pan in the oven upside down and heat at 250 degrees for about 30 minutes or until no water is present.
Although the instructions say they are dishwasher safe, there are a couple of good reasons not to put them in the dishwasher.
1. Water can get into an air pocket during the washing cycle. The steam formed in the oven can burn your cookies or even your hands.
2. There are many reports about the ruined finish after putting an air-bake sheet through the dishwasher. Dishwasher detergent tabs contain concentrated cleaning agents that can discolor aluminum.
Air-Bake sheets are easy to hand wash. Hand washing helps the sheet last longer without potential damage that can occur when washing in the dishwasher.
Allow the sheet to cool completely before cleaning. Use a plastic spatula to remove any food residue.
Clean the inside surface of your air-bake pan with a soapy, non-scratch sponge and rinse. Wipe off the outside with a cloth. If you use parchment paper, just wipe off the sheet. Allow it to sit out on a towel to air dry before putting it away.
Store the sheet upright in your cabinet and be careful as it scratches easily.
Use non-metal spatulas when working with your air-bake pan as using metal utensils can scratch and damage its delicate finish. Don’t cut anything on the sheet to avoid denting the surface from pressure.
If your Air-bake pan has a nonstick coating, make sure to hand wash it. Don’t use scratchy items for cleaning to preserve the coating from damage. Since air-bake pans are extremely easy to clean you can just wipe them clean with a cloth or paper towel between uses.